Friday, February 09, 2007

That's not reporting, that's enabling.

Dan Froomkin entitles his report on media complicity "Washington Journalism on Trial" and he is no more impressed that Eric Boehlert was.

If you're a journalist, and a very senior White House official calls you up on the phone, what do you do? Do you try to get the official to address issues of urgent concern so that you can then relate that information to the public?

Not if you're NBC Washington bureau chief Tim Russert.

When then-vice presidential chief of staff Scooter Libby called Russert on July 10, 2003, to complain that his name was being unfairly bandied about by MSNBC host Chris Matthews, Russert apparently asked him nothing.

And get this: According to Russert's testimony yesterday at Libby's trial, when any senior government official calls him, they are presumptively off the record.

That's not reporting, that's enabling. [emphasis is mine --bill]

That's how you treat your friends when you're having an innocent chat, not the people you're supposed to be holding accountable.

Many things are "on trial" at the E. Barrett Prettyman federal courthouse right now. Libby is the only one facing a jail sentence -- and Russert's testimony, firmly contradicting the central claim of Libby's defense, may just end up putting him there.

But Libby's boss, along with the whole Bush White House, for that matter, is being held up to public scrutiny as well.

And the behavior of elite members of Washington's press corps -- sometimes appearing more interested in protecting themselves and their cozy "sources" than in informing the public -- is also being exposed for all the world to see.

1 Comments:

Blogger liberal journal man said...

When I hear Tim Russert's name, one word comes to mind: putz.

And when Dick Cheney emerges from his undisclosed location to raise hay about Iran, he can go on his favorite show, Meet the Press.

9:33 PM  

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